Square Shapes - After the Fact (Cover Artwork)

Square Shapes

After the Fact (2019)

People of punk Rock Records

For their second full length release, Hawaii’s Square Shapes recruited Dan Wleklinski of 88 Fingers Louie to do the production. A wise and fitting choice. Wleklinksi’s influence is clear on this album, but I’m not quite sure if the band called on him because they were already fans of 88 Fingers Louie or if it was Wleklinkski’s expertise and advice that bled through on the sound during the production process. It’s a sort of chicken and the egg conundrum, but either way Dan Precision and the band have produced a solid melodic-hardcore album with a varied, yet fluid sound.

The band has the ability to bounce around in regards to style, highlighted by the vibrato vocals. The best example of this comes right away on “Animal”, which starts with a tension-building lead riff before shouting gang vocals collide with the melodic lead vocals. All of which are highlighted by the speed and aggression of hardcore via the guitar, bass, and drums. The second track, “Cobalt”, which seems like an ode to the band’s island experiences, showcases their poppier sound. And for the next 13 songs, they bounce back and forth between melodic hardcore, DC hardcore, and pop punk with a touch of surf rock peppered in. Lyrically, the album toes the line between good natured fun (“Burritos”) and more serious song matter (“Don’t Do It”). It’s a balance that keeps things fresh.

Overall, After the Fact is a well-written and well-produced record. As with their previous affair, this is an album that I can listen to over and over without getting bored. I hear something new upon each spin. With the vocal styles of Jello Biafra, the aggression of Minor Threat, the melody of Rise Against and 88 Fingers Louie, and a pop-punk sound in the same vein as the Descendents, Square Shapes has a little bit of everything.